Do you remember exactly how long ago Xiaomi found immense popularity via the new Mi 3 handset? Well, you won't have to sweat it out much, provided you have already read about how the company has conducted flash sales for the growing number of orders placed for the handset.
But with the excitement surrounding the Mi 3 slowly subsiding, all eyes are now fixed at the upcoming Mi 4 handset. But in between, Xiaomi has successfully released the new budget-oriented Redmi 1S handset for users who are looking forward to devices in the sub-10k range.
The Redmi 1S is here to successfully take over the market that the Motorola Moto E made with its 7K handset. And if each user starts checking out the potential of this China-made handset, it can be easily deduced that the handset is even a step ahead of the Moto E, while also being cheaper by 1K.
But keeping all else aside for the moment, Xiaomi has become one of the newest name in the block to have entered the below 10k range for a more productive financial year. And after the massive success the company attained via the previously released Mi 3 handset, Xiaomi has released the new Redmi 1S.
These are just early days for the Redmi 1S handset, although we are expecting only good things from the handset going forward. However, neither do we see the future, nor do we make assumpations over it. But the Redmi 1S has indeed shown how you can get even more with the least amount paid.
We have a review unit for the handset that Xiaomi recently sent over. And honestly, we are liking what we are seeing here. But what are the finer points of the handset and will it be a good buy going forward? We take a closer look.
Xiaomi Redmi 1S: Form Factor and Operating System
First things first. The Redmi 1S, by no means, is a lightweight device. And the same could be said about the specs it carries internally. But before you fire up the phone for use, you will have a slight issue with the weight it has on it. But that's okay as long as the internals are aesthetically pleasing.
The unit that was delivered to us comes in a usual Xiaomi-made minimalist box. There's absolutely nothing on offer that will convince you that the box is harboring a handset inside. Taking the phone out of the box, it seemed like the handset is quite prone to fingerprints and smudges. And that's true for both the front and the back of the handset.
The front features three red capacitive buttons, with the LED notification light placed right under the home button. And as expected, it comes with a removable plastic layer on top that educates you on the handset's power buttons and volume rocker.
Heading over to the rear side of the handset, the back of it features a removable cover (with the usual Mi logo on top), underneath which is an orange (or fluroscent) colored battery that's quite an eyesore, to tell the truth. But going past it, you will notice two SIM slots and the microSD card slot.
Another thing that we actually found quite refreshing is the fact that both the volume rockers and the power button are on the same side of the handset. But that the volume rocker is placed above the power button tells you that Xiaomi did a bit of research on user confort and button accessibilty before eventually releasing the handset.
Apart from that, the phone's rear camera sits in the middle of the handset's at back, with the single slit for the speaker grille also placed closer to the right edge of the handset. And if not careful, you will find your fingers unknowingly placed on top of the speaker grill that can cause sounds to lower down.
In terms of the operating system and the interface, the Redmi 1S comes with Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) with Xiaomi's MIUI v5 skin on top of it. And some might consider this a drawback since most of the smartphones in this range offer the latest Android KitKat out of the box.
But the good news is that Xiaomi has already promised a software update for the handset before the end of this year. This will bring MIUI v6 on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. Interestingly, Xiaomi has also added a certain new Lite Mode for the Redmi 1S which makes the overall interface even more simpler than the standard MIUI interface.
The Lite Mode, although it looks so much like a basic Windows Phone handset on applying the change, gives users access to large buttons on the home screen. The most basic apps have been added as default, while others have been kept away. Usual Android users may never make use of it, and even crack a joke or two at its expense, but it's just the perfect module for someone making the big shift for the first time.
On an overall, The Redmi 1S comes with the same MIUI features that we are so used to seeing on the Mi 3. And as expected, many of the pre-installed apps can now be uninstalled by the user without rooting the handset.